Thursday, February 7, 2013
Location Scouting. One of the many perks of being a photographer.
This is not a post about improving skill sets.
This is not a post about being more efficient in any function of photography.
This post is about how we as human beings are either "efficient" or "inefficient" in our chosen professions and how that translates into rewards, whether those rewards are monetary, status, or something abstract like happiness.
This is what I posit: If you find the right work for what you are, for who you are, for the skill sets you possess... then you will find tremendous success with everything that you do. In fact, I predict that everything you touch will turn into gold. This is what I call "efficiency".
The opposite of this is also true. That if you find the wrong work for what you are, for who you are, for the skill sets you possess, then you will find tremendous difficulty achieving any success with anything that you do. You will work like a dog and reap little to no rewards. This is what I call "inefficiency".
The goal is obviously to be efficient. You try just as hard but the success comes easier, sooner, and better. Hell, you might not even have to try that hard. But chances are that if the chosen work is consistent with your "structural composition", then you can't help but try hard. Because at that "frequency", everything is amplified. Doubled. Tripled. Exponentially even.
On the flipside, on the wrong "frequency" your efforts are halved, quartered. Yes, perhaps even exponentially diminished. You will work 100 hour weeks and make minimum wage. You will hate your shit life. You will cringe every morning you have to wake up. And worst of all, you can't even get out from underneath it all.
I'll give you a personal example. With my own work I've finally found a harmony that didn't exist for me at any previous "job". I'll be the first to admit I was a horrible employee. I came to work late, took long lunches, and left work early. Fundamentally I didn't understand why I was doing the work I was doing. The money didn't make me any happier.
As I'm reviewing my accounting (for tax purposes), I realize how easy it's been to make as much (if not more) than I ever made working at a corporate gig AND with much less "effort". Things are just easier. And I actually care about the work! But money is just one silly little metric. I actually have influence with my work now that I never had before. Watching pink stripes and light leaks pop up in other photographers' work is mind boggling. And I love receiving emails, tweets, and FB messages from models, photographers, videographers, etc. around the world. I create jobs and get hire friends and pay them tens of thousands of dollars. I have the time (and the luxury) to literally watch my daughter grow up. I get to connect with other artists and create new productions. And to round out this short list of abstract benefits of being "more efficient", I get to help other photographers in their journey. And that's probably my favorite thing. After hanging out with my daughter of course :)
Sure all of that sounds like "and they lived happily ever after" but this post wouldn't be educational if I didn't tell you how I was inefficient last year. When I look at my own personality I realize that I sometimes let my weaknesses (fears) overpower my strengths. For example, rather than better more active with networking and social events, I allowed myself to get holed up in front of the computer for weeks on end. This greatly limited my social network (the real network, not the online fictitious type). Because rather than go out there and meet just one new important person that could extend my sphere of influence, I allowed myself to hide under the cloak of doing something more important like retouching. Sure I thought I was being efficient at the time. Maybe cranking out new pictures. But I can do that stuff already. Without getting out there and making new connections, I'm not allowing my strengths to flourish and grow. I'm not improving. I'm not being efficient with who I am and what I have to offer.
So there is something to be said about working smarter. And it doesn't mean you have to be all strategic and "do more with less". Sometimes it means getting out of your own way to just be a better version of yourself. Because we are most often our own worst enemies and our own biggest obstacles to overcome. Being more efficient people means stripping away the things that make us suck/inefficient. It means getting rid of the excuses. It means being honest with ourselves about what we're good at and what we're not good at so we can leverage our strengths and generate more success with those strengths. Honestly, each person is really good at one or two things and pretty much lousy at everything else. So it's not hard to understand why most people struggle with becoming more efficient and experiencing greater success. But the sooner your realize what you're good at and just focus on those things, the sooner you can stop preventing yourself from experiencing amazing and wild success. To that degree even the cynic in me believes that everyone in the entire world is capable of greatness.
And as soon as I get off the computer, I will experience greatness too :)